Oddly enough, the big reason why the mainstream pro-war types on the right, left, and media continue to believe that invading Iraq was the right decision is based on the outcome of the first Gulf War, as well as the long-term aftermath of Vietnam. In both those cases, the lesson learned by these types was that being against the war was the hard position to explain. And as such, it was the stupid position.
And despite all their talk of principals and wise policies, it was a political position period. Because that’s all they understand. To them, politics are everything, and you just don’t take a position that you don’t want to have to defend on television. And so this was all a no-brainer for them. Because by taking it, they could talk about their strong principals and how they want to ensure the safety of America and other such blather that they don’t really care about. And the fact that their peers agreed made it all the easier.
Even now, they accept it as the right decision. Not because the outcome turned out well, because it obviously hasn’t. But because they still wouldn’t want to defend the anti-war position. It’s just too easy to demagogue it into an anti-American position, and they’d rather be on the giving end of that barrel than the receiving end.
And so they continue to see their decision as being terribly clever, despite how terribly terrible it was. And they see it as a win-win. They can hold tight on their position and look principled while continuing to attack their opponents as anti-American, or they can change positions and look pragmatic and wise. And in both cases, they believe they can claim the moral highground because they took the Save America option that makes them look brave and heroic. It doesn’t work like that, but because the media had agreed with this calculation from the start, they’re sure to agree.
Fortunately or not, these people are as clever as they are unwise and can be counted on to screw things up. The aftermath of their actions will not redeem them the way they believe history has assured. There is no chance that historians will favor these people, and more likely than not, history will hold a dimmer view of them than we do. No, their only hope are the contrarians, who will have a backlash opinion against the mainstream historians’ utter trouncing of the Bush Admin and everything about it. Which is ironic, as those are the jackasses that got them into this mess to begin with.
But most students will learn how Bush set the new standard for presidential buffoonery, and how all these people enabled him to do that. Because none of their cleverness, half-truths, or finesse will be remembered. Only the big actions, like unconstitutionalities and the war’s aftermath will make it through history’s filter. And their decisions will surely be remembered as the ones to avoid.